Peter Saint-Andre: Aphorisms

Last Updated: 2023-12-27

All the great questions of life boil down to this: What is the best way to live?

The best way to live is to never stop asking yourself: What is the best way to live?

Distrust all gurus; instead, be your own guru; even then, distrust yourself.

The easiest thing in the world is self-deception.

Perfection is not an option.

Happiness is the best revenge.

There's no monopoly on hypocrisy.

You don't have to achieve an ideal to realize the benefits of idealism.

Philosophy is a verb, not a noun.

The self is not a natural endowment, but a personal achievement.

Ethics is what you do, not what you profess.

Someone who tells you how ethical they are, probably isn't.

The true sage doesn't claim to be a sage.

Everyone is weird, it's a question of specifically how.

Having an open mind doesn't mean you need to close your eyes.

If you think well of your own opinions merely because they're yours, then you're not thinking well.

The most powerful thoughts involve no thoughts of power.

To avoid groupthink, avoid groups.

Demonization and deification are two sides of the same false coin.

Morality is telling people how to be; metaphysics is telling reality how to be.

Spend time with your loved ones; they can't be replaced.

Questions are quick; answers are slow.

On the path to wisdom, it's always better to walk than to run.

A good life is embodied wisdom.

Don't puzzle over the meaning of life; instead, work to create a life of meaning.

Just because you have good and beautiful things of great worth, does not mean you are living a good and beautiful and worthy life.

Don't envy those who envy others.

I strive to shed my illusions as easily as the snake sheds its skin; yet the fact that I must strive shows how hard it truly is.

If someone tells you that your window of opportunity is closing, remember: a beautiful house has many windows.

Creation is a singularly rare event; most of life — even of art, religion, and philosophy — is a matter of maintenance.

Scholē is wasted on the scholar.

The sophist justifies what is desired; the philosopher desires what is justified.

A book of poems is like a box of chocolates — best not consumed in one sitting.

Any sufficiently complex phenomenon has a multitude of causes.

Politics is a disease: an unhealthy distraction from everything that truly matters in life..

The assertion that the personal is the political both trivializes and collectivizes the most human of our experiences.

If you can conceive of morality without god, why can you not conceive of society without government?

If you can conceive of spirituality without faith, why can you not conceive of government without coercion?

A courthouse or a legislature no more proves the existence of government than a church or a monastery proves the existence of god.

Any government that makes war on its own people has lost the consent of the governed and thus all moral legitimacy.

The problem with elections is that those who get elected think they are the elect.

Democracy is what happens when actual people hold power — not their so-called representatives.

Party politics represents the triumph of in-group psychology.

Utopia is not an option.

Specialists always overestimate the importance of their specialties.

Many characteristics of modern music — its agitation, its emotionalism, its seductiveness, its lack of inhibitions — are caused by the fact that it is performed after dark by night people.

We moderns, especially we Americans, are perpetual children, preferring entertainment to wisdom and momentary pleasures to a good life.

Everything is great, but no one strives for greatness.

Although we like to believe that technologies are our tools, in fact we are tools of our technologies.

Enormous, impersonal, irresponsible organizations are the inevitable result of limited liability, which was legislated into existence in the early nineteenth century; there is nothing natural about them.

The unexamined organization is not worth building.

The health of an organization's culture is inversely proportional to the amount of time it spends talking about its culture.

Sometimes the best thing to do is not the fastest or most efficient thing to do. This is called learning.

We can learn much about modern society from adjectives that have passed out of use; consider ‘villainous’, ‘base’, and ‘unseemly’.

The clothing that people wear today reveals much about their bodies, but it reveals even more about their souls.

Never underestimate the power of a false alternative.

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings